Entries in Convicted (3)


Convicted Murderer Steven L. Robbins Back in Custody After Mistakenly Released

Kevin Horan/Stone(CHICAGO) -- A convicted murderer who was mistakenly released from a Chicago jail is back in custody Saturday, after authorities used leads and interviews with his family and friends to successfully track him down.

Steven L. Robbins, 44, of Gary, Ind., was rearrested without incident late Friday night in northeastern Illinois, and is in the custody of the Cook County Sheriff's Office, said Sheriff Thomas J. Dart in a news release.

Robbins was improperly released from jail as a result of what Dart had called "a clerical error" that was chalked up to an outdated paperwork system.

Robbins was serving a 60-year prison sentence after being convicted of shooting a man who tried to break up an altercation Robbins was having with his wife in Indiana in 2002.

He was brought to Chicago by Cook County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday for 20-year-old outstanding criminal warrant involving drug charges -- but unbeknownst to authorities, the case had actually been dismissed in 2007, reported ABC News Chicago station WLS.

Following the court appearance, Robbins was taken to a jail on the South Side of Chicago, and was subsequently released later in the day, rather than returning to Indiana to continue serving his murder sentence.

Robbins walked out of jail in civilian clothing given to him by the jail, according to ABC's Chicago affiliate WLS.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office launched a campaign to apprehend Robbins on Friday.

Sheriff Thomas Dart pointed to the office's paper records system for the serious slip up.

"Because no paperwork had gone to the jail about him coming from Indiana, all the people in the records room saw was a guy whose court case was dismissed," he said. "And so he -- like another 200 people a day we release -- was released...out the front door of the jail.

"It's all a paper system," Dart said. "And so when people start thinking it's maybe an inside job, the unfortunate reality is all these different detainees that we're dealing with every day -- and we move 1,500 a day -- the entire trail is a paper trail. It's not a computer message from the courtroom to the jail saying, 'Keep him for another 30 days or release him.' It's a piece of paper. We're not happy that it's that way. We've been trying to get it computerized, but it's not there."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Lawyer Argues for Andrea Yates Release

BRET COOMER/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Ten years ago on Monday, Andrea Yates called 911 after drowning her five children in the family's bathtub and admitted to the first police officer to arrive at her Houston home, "I just killed my kids."

Now, Yates is being treated in a minimum-security mental hospital in Kerrville, Texas, from which her longtime lawyer, George Parnham, says he's "highly optimistic" she will be released after her recommitment hearing in November.

The first step is to secure the recommendation of her doctors. "I think that this year the doctors will recommend a regimen of therapy in a community-based outpatient facility," says Parnham.

Controversial as her case has been, Yates' attorney and friends argue her mental health is much improved after years of treatment and medication for postpartum psychosis and other conditions. Initially committed to the maximum-security North Texas State Hospital Vernon Campus, Yates was transferred to Kerrville in 2007.

"When this first happened, she was severely mentally ill and would experience extreme sickness at around this time each year," says Parnham.

But with therapy and treatments including anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication such as Effexor, one friend who regularly visits Yates says, "She's come full circle and she's really well."

The highly publicized trials of Yates in 2002 and 2006 focused the nation's attention on postpartum psychosis and the nation's insanity laws. During her first trial, Yates' attorneys argued that she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and delusion. She believed Satan was inside her, and that killing her children would save them from hell. Although she was initially found guilty, the appeals court later overturned the verdict.

In her second trial, Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity. At the time, defense lawyer Parnham described the verdict as "a watershed event in the treatment of mental illness."

After years of waiving the right to the hearing, Parnham plans to go before the court this year to argue that Yates is no longer dangerous to herself or others, and that her mental condition will not deteriorate if she is released. A judge or jury will eventually determine whether Yates meets these standards.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man Who Claimed He Assisted a Suicide Convicted of Murder

Photo Coutesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An unemployed drug addict who claimed he was paid to assist a motivational speaker commit suicide was convicted Thursday of murder.

A New York City jury found Kenneth Minor guilty of first degree murder in the death of Jeffrey Locker, a Long Island self-help guru whose business was floundering.

The prosecution conceded that Locker was suicidal and sought out Minor on a Harlem street corner in July 2009.

Minor and the prosecution agreed that Locker asked Minor to make his death look like a robbery so Locker's family would be able to claim a multi-million dollar insurance settlement.

Minor's lawyer told the jury his client simply held a knife against the steering wheel of Locker's station wagon as Locker thrust his chest against the blade to kill himself.

"He was taken advantage of... He's no contract killer," said Minor's lawyer, Daniel Gotlin, in closing arguments. Gotlin said Minor should be acquitted under a state statue that allows an assisted suicide defense in some murder charges.

But the prosecution said Minor killed Locker for money, binding his hands and stabbing the man repeatedly in the chest.

"This was murder for money, not a mercy killing, which is why we prosecuted the case as an intentional murder," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement. "We believe the jurors got it right with their verdict."

Gotlin said he would appeal the jury's verdict.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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